In order to best ensure that we are delivering programs for military families that are relevant and impactful, Together We Stand formed our Military Family Advisory Committee (MFAC). Consisting of military family members (spouses, serving members and veterans) and representing the Navy, Army and Air Force communities, the committee serves to guide the development of our programs. This group of volunteers are passionate about honouring and acknowledging Canada’s military families and we are thankful to have them as part of the Together We Stand family.
The military lifestyle is quite familiar for Troy as he was born into a military family. As a child he lived in several provinces but more importantly, he learned about the importance of loved ones, the value of community, and the resiliency of military families. After completing high school he moved to Baden-Baden Germany with his family but after a few short months he enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces as a technician in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Troy served for 33 1/2 years and had multiple deployments throughout his career. Most recently he was privileged to serve as the Chief Warrant Officer of Air Task Force – Iraq on Operation IMPACT from October 2016 to June 2017. Troy retired in August of 2019 from Trenton, Ontario where he served as the Wing Chief Warrant Officer which is the most senior non-commissioned position on the Wing.
Troy is married to June Zuorro, who is also a retired RCAF member. June was a Finance Officer and when she retired in September 2019, she was serving as the Director General Budget where she managed the entire budget for the Canadian Armed Forces. June deployed several times throughout her career and she and Troy were blessed with two wonderful children, who are now grown.
Troy’s experience as a military child, a spouse of a service member and as a Canadian Armed Forces member gives him a unique perspective. Throughout his career he volunteered with several community organizations, including as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Winnipeg Military Family Resource Center. Troy has a passion for programs and services that support, empower and acknowledge military families. In April 2020 Troy began volunteering on the Military Family Advisory Committee for Together We Stand Foundation.
Maryanne McGrath is an emerging professional in Edmonton, Alberta. When she’s not engaged in policy and governance work in the education sector, or out on a cruise with her car club, she’s involved in the administration of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program through her role as a Cadet Instructors Cadre Officer.
Her enthusiasm and dedication to bettering the lives of military families, particularly young military families, began with her experiences in her own military relationship with her Armoured Soldier partner.
Maryanne hopes to use her own growth and learning in navigating military family life to empower others and represent the voices of the next generation of Canadian Military Families.
Gaynor spent 28 years of her professional career working with the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC), initially as a social worker and then as Executive Director.
She is grateful for the opportunities provided over the years to work with the amazing CAF community in efforts to enhance the quality of life for military families.
Newly retired, she is thrilled to be able to continue her passion for the military community and families by volunteering with Together We Stand.
The first time Renee wore a pair of military parade boots, she was 11 years old and had joined the cadet program. She completed the cadet program on her 18th birthday and joined the primary reserves.
In 2001, Renee made the decision to transfer from the primary reserve force into the regular force as an administration clerk.
Renee is currently serving as the Squadron Chief Warrant Officer of 426 (Transport) Training Squadron located at 8 Wing Trenton, the home of the Royal Canadian Air Forces air mobility capability.
Throughout her 19 year regular force career, Renee has deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to our Nation’s most northern inhabited place, Canadian Forces Station Alert. Renee is married to Steve, who recently retired after a 39 year career in uniform.
Renee’s 36 years wearing a uniform has given her unique opportunities to garner and understand of what it is to serve, as well as what it is to support those who serve. In 2020, Renee began volunteering with the Military Family Advisory Committee for Together We Stand Foundation.
Sarah is a passionate individual who has worked in the advertising and marketing industry in Australia and Canada for over 20 years; which has given her a broad skill set in branding, marketing, major fundraisers, integrative advertising campaigns, public relations and digital media. She enjoys working in collaboration to develop original, imaginative and creative solutions.
Starting her own company in 2015, she was striving to create a successful remotely operated company that fits with military transitions. Recently, she is a part of a pilot program in Ontario researching entrepreneur programs for remote and transitional employment for military spouse and releasing military members.
She is passionate about strong military families and her past achievements include working alongside the CF Support Unit (Ottawa), where she and her team opened three emergency housing units in the Ottawa for the use in crisis, medical and imposed restriction purposes. Other initiatives include increasing mental health support programs for youth and personal development for adults in the military community.
In 2017 she was approached to assist Together We Stand. Within this organization she saw passionate individuals driven to form diverse new programs such as operation care package and Military family appreciation day in support of military families. She is honoured to be involved in the continuation and development of these programs.
Sarah has been a spouse of a Canadian Armed Air Force Officer for almost 20 years. Her husband has served 7 deployments, 2 years of imposed restrictions and their family has been relocated 7 times. She and her husband have 3 children are current located in Ontario.
2015 – EDC Top Women in Defence Award
2012 – Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for service for support programs for out of county CAF families
Eleanor is passionate about politics and has been involved with every aspect as both a volunteer in election campaigns for over twenty years as well as a political staffer working in Ottawa for Cabinet Ministers on Parliament Hill. She honed her research and communication skills and accompanied her Ministers on travel throughout Central and South America where it was an honour to represent Canada.
After leaving Parliament Hill, she joined an organization called CJPAC (the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee). As their Director of Campus Programming she was responsible for their flagship program – The Fellowship. Her focus was on training the next generation of political junkies and imparting her love for and knowledge about politics aimed at engaging students in the political process. She used her creativity and organizational skills to plan major conferences each year in Ottawa involving dozens of speakers over multiple days.
Looking for fresh challenges she joined Phaze 3 Management Inc in 2019 continuing her work with politics from a new perspective. She also started volunteering with Together We Stand Foundation. Bringing her experience in government and organization to Together We Stand she has helped with programs such as Operation Care Package and participated in The Command Post. She was an enthusiastic part of the second annual Military Family Appreciation Day and wants to continue working to develop these and other programs helping to support and honour military families across Canada.
She has been part of a military family for almost 20 years. Her husband, combat infantry Warrant Officer and trained paratrooper who has been deployed 4 times. They spent a long time apart pursuing their separate careers before coming together in Edmonton and then being posted back to Ontario. They have an energetic five year old son and an appropriately named cat, Remington.
Suzie Fortin was born and raised in Saguenay, QC and she always wanted to explore the world and learn English. At 17 years old she joined the Naval Reserve as a Naval Communicator. She went to Victoria, BC in 1999 and Halifax, NS in 2000 to complete her training ashore and on ships.
Suzie attended University Laval where she completed her Engineering degree and MBA. She decided to do one last class B contract with the reserve after she graduated in 2004 and she just so happened to meet her husband Chris that summer. He followed her to Quebec City and then she had to go back to Saguenay to work in her field. In 2006, Suzie got a job in Gatineau and moved with Chris in Ottawa after they got married and Chris transferred to the Regular Forces.
Suzie followed Chris literally Coast to coast: Victoria 2007, Ottawa 2013, Montreal 2016, Toronto 2017, Halifax 2018 and back in Ottawa in 2020. Suzie has been a public servant since 2007 when she worked as the Material Engineer at CFB Esquimalt.
Suzie and Chris have two very resilient boys born in 2008 and 2011. Suzie held the home front when Chris was at sea or when he deployed. The two longest were a 8.5 months Navy deployment in 2013 and a 6.5 months in Kuwait in 2016.
Suzie works currently is the Engineering Manager and has been with the Canadian Coast Guard since 2016 as they enabled her to work remotely for the Headquarters in Ottawa for the last 3 postings.
Suzie has a unique experience as a reservist, a spouse, a mother and also a public servant for 3 Departments and is a proud first language French speaker. She wants to give back to the military families. She is so thankful for Together we Stand and everything they do and wants to raise awareness about the foundation to all military families but more specifically to the francophones.
Matt is a Canadian Military Veteran who served in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. He was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.
On December 13th 2008, he was part of a patrol that was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device, resulting in 3 KIA (killed in action). Upon returning home, Matt was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and was medically released in 2013.
He has found helping other Veterans and their families an important part of his post service life, making the commitment to TWS an easy one.
Rebekah is a lifelong learner, professional historian, veteran spouse and mom to three children. She understands the sacrifices of military families and its members, as her grandfather-in-law, aunt, uncle, brother and husband have all devoted years of service to the Canadian Armed Forces. Following her husband’s medical release from the CAF, she has openly discussed the transitional challenges Veterans and their families face after service. She has also highlighted the importance of breaking down the stigma around mental health for the military and veteran community and psychoeducation, which has also transferred into her museum and archival work.
She is a graduate of Bishop’s University (Honours History) and the Master of Arts (Public History) program at The University of Western Ontario. She is Curator at the York Region District School Board Museum & Archives, and also serves as a guest lecturer at Fleming College, in the Museum Management and Curatorship & Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management programs. In addition to volunteering with Wounded Warriors Canada, the Highway of Heroes Clean-Up, her church community and other local charities, it has been an honour for Rebekah to serve the veteran community in her role as a veteran spouse on the Veterans Ombudsman Advisory Council since 2019. She is a Legion member and member of her local Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) chapter. In her spare time, she thoroughly enjoys volunteering, spending time outdoors with her family and has a love-hate relationship with her road bike.
To Jimmy joining the army was not just a career choice it’s the “family business”. His father, a retired MWO, served with 2 Commando in the Airborne Regiment and with the PPCLI and his mother is a retired CWO with Supply Logistics. Even Jimmy’s stepmother cut hair in Afghanistan on two different occasions.
Jimmy served with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and he deployed on multiple missions to Afghanistan during the 2000’s.
After being medically released Jimmy struggled to find a place in which he felt useful and most of all that he fit into. After a period of self medication and unclarity Jimmy came full circle and has and continues to keep on a path to his own recovery.
He has found by giving back to his community and helping as many brothers and sisters transition in their lives. “I can only hope that brothers and sisters don’t take the long hard road and can find their peace and recovery and most of all know they do not have to do it by themselves!”
Jimmy has worked as a peer mentor on many veterans’ treatment programs as well as helping with navigating and locating resources in the veteran community. “It is what helps fill my cup”. Also, it has been rumoured that Jimmy also makes the most exquisite and delicious Kraft dinner and hot dogs.